Cholesterol level affects surface charge of lipid membranes in saline solution

Aniket Magarkar, Vivek Dhawan, Paraskevi Kallinteri, Tapani Viitala, Mohammed Elmowafy, Tomasz Róg, Alex Bunker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

145 Citations (Scopus)


Cholesterol is an important component of all biological membranes as well as drug delivery liposomes. We show here that increasing the level of cholesterol in a phospholipid membrane decreases surface charge in the physiological environment. Through molecular dynamics simulation we have shown that increasing the level of cholesterol decreases Na + ion binding. Complementary experimental ζ - potential measurements have shown a decreased ζ - potential with increasing cholesterol content, indicative of reduced surface charge. Both experiments and simulations have been carried out on both saturated 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC) and monounsaturated 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) membranes. This result is particularly important because membrane surface charge plays an important role in the interactions of biomembranes with peripheral membrane proteins and drug delivery liposomes with the immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5005
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2014
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Dive into the research topics of 'Cholesterol level affects surface charge of lipid membranes in saline solution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this